Frequently referred to as a 'baroque masterpiece', Lecce has been beautifully constructed from soft, pale local sandstone, and is a fancy for those with fancy tastes. The elaborate architecture peaks on the hilltop at the centre of town with the Piazza del Duomo, around the cathedral, and the decorative masterpiece the Basilica di Santa Croce, where some of the best places to stay in Lecce can be found.
As well as an architectural triumph, Lecce is fascinating historically, and the largest town on Puglia's beach-tastic Solento peninsula. So this is a wonderful base for anyone who enjoys mixing the sun and sand with a bit of cultural exploration.
Lecce is the 'Florence of the South', not actual Florence, and hotels are priced accordingly. If you're looking for the best place to stay in Lecce you'll have plenty of choice, from grand, luxurious baroque fantasies to more modest B&Bs or villa accommodation.
The area around the cathedral is where most of Lecce's most famous sights are crowded, in amongst the spider's web of lovely streets and piazzas.
Santa Croce is probably where the baroque designs are at their most fantastical, but the Chiesa del Rosario, the Chirsa dei SS Nicolo e Cataldo and the Chiesa de Santa (all churches) are also worth seeking out.
Lecce's main gate the Porta Napoli, based on a Roman triumphal arch, is also impossible not to notice and appreciate.
As is the castle, built originally in the 12th Century, but spruced up in the 16th Century because it wasn't looking fancy enough.
Exploring Lecce's fascinating history is easy. First stop should be the Museo Provinciale, where you have 10,000 years of history - starting with the Palaeolithic.
Then on to the Museo Faggiano, a private home with layers of history beneath its floorboards.
Then visit the Roman Amphitheatre: horseshoe seating for 15,000 from the 2nd Century, discovered underneath a piazza in 1901.
Lecce is also a great place to visit for foodies. There are several cooking schools here, so it's a good place to learn more about the typical rustic dishes of the region's cuisine. There are also plenty of food and wine tours you can join.
The old town abounds with small restaurants, just be careful to choose those which are aimed at locals, rather than tourists, as that's where you'll find the most authentic dishes.
Still not sure which hotel to book? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in Lecce, or call, or email, one of our gurus for advice. Alternatively see our full list of recommendations for Puglia.
Characterful B&B. Unique rooms have tiled floors, traditional fabrics and antique furniture. There is a charming breakfast room, lounge room and rooftop garden terrace. Ivy clad facade, a very welcoming stay at excellent value.
Located in an old 16th-century Synagogue, this charming B&B has bedrooms with original stone walls, high ceilings and calming natural colours. Palazzo Personè also boasts an extraordinary Baroque facade, cafe and cellar restaurant with wine bar. A great spot for exploring this ancient city.
Graceful B&B near Sant'Oronzo Square in the centre of Lecce. Huge, light-filled bedrooms with sandstone walls, parquet floors, and elegant furniture. A great value spot, and family friendly too.
Contemporary hotel in former tannery. Large rooms have exposed bricks walls, furnishings in cream and white, modern bathrooms and artworks. Sunny outdoor terrace to enjoy breakfast. Short walk from city's sights. Chic, elegant and grown-up.
Three pretty bedrooms and a gorgeous garden in a family palazzo. Antique furniture, stone fireplaces and period vaulted ceilings - two bedrooms have kitchenettes and access to the garden. Plus there is a larger suite ideal for families. A great value choice.
Traditional comforts and great hospitality in the heart of town. Behind the lovely Lecce stone facade the bedrooms contain frescoes, stucco work, cherry wood furniture and rich fabrics. A lovely little restaurant, small spa and gorgeous roof top terrace with views of Lecce.
Elegant hotel in city centre. Rooms feature wooden floors, creamy fabrics and big marble bathrooms. Roof terrace, gym and bar. Minutes from historical city sights; ideal for exploring as a city break.
Lecce (Le Palmeraie S.r.l.)
Refined sixteenth century mansion in a quiet corner of stunning Baroque Lecce with six modern, elegant rooms. Guests can enjoy a freshly baked Italian breakfast or sip glasses of prosecco in the exclusive garden terrace beneath the citrus trees, or relax in the hot tub. The perfect romantic getaway.
High-tech luxury and stylish contemporary design in a lovely old building. The five-star hotel combines earthy hues and local materials with sleek modernism. Elegant roof top restaurant serves local dishes, and has great city views. Spa and meeting facilities. City style for the mainstream.
A small corner of tranquility in central Lecce. Bearing distinctive local architecture, the hotel's minimalist aesthetic is complimented by pinnacled ceilings and tasteful modern art. Relax by the swimming pool, surrounded by olive groves, and enjoy some delicious Pugliese cuisine.